Yesterday would’ve been your 13th birthday, my silly April fool. I shared/reposted a handful of pictures of you on previous birthdays on Facebook.
This one from your 8th birthday at Powderhorn Park is one of my favorites of you.
I don’t know how time slips by so quickly–no posts since October! We’ve been busy wrangling the two big dogs for sure. Still missing you fiercely and thinking at discrete moments very much about little things you did.
I got a new laptop yesterday, my first in almost 10 years, I think. It’ll be nice to be able to go around town and work on things. I got it in part because I need to start working on this book that I’m cowriting with a friend on Asian Pacific American youth literature. It’s much easier to write and work if I have a choice of places to sit. Being tied down to a desktop–particularly one hidden in the study away from everyone else in the house–can be a drag.
I was a little sad when I chose the desktop picture for the computer.
But then I remembered that I can have the picture rotate, so I also have you with me still.
I’m taking this week off work, trying to do some reading for fun, and just generally relaxing. Not sure it’s working all that well. Still having unsettling dreams. This morning, one of them involved an overflowing toilet and the drudgery of cleaning up the spill. Why is my mind so unkind?
I haven’t been writing here on the blog, but since May 29, I’ve written pretty consistently in a paper journal, missing only one day in the past three weeks. I like that intimacy and format a lot, and I’m reminded of how much I used to enjoy the feel of writing by hand. I liked it so much that I used to copy out passages I liked in books. I’m doing that a bit now as well, jotting down sentences and paragraphs and lines of books and poems I’m reading, a kind of partial record of what I’m reading.
Today, I am doing ok. Most of this week, however, was not easy. I alternated between feeling a sense of impending doom or just general sadness. I think wrapping up our nightly candlelight vigil for you was harder than I anticipated. It’s not that I don’t still think of you every day, but it’s hard letting go of a concrete practice, a habit, a physical and deliberate act, that we continued to keep you in our lives.
One of the things I’m going to do is start keeping a daily writing and drawing journal. I was reinspired to do so after reading Lynda Barry’s Syllabus: Notes From an Accidental Professor. I know I often say I’m going to start keeping a journal (by hand) again every few months, but I think this time I will make a bigger effort. I realized that having some guidance in the form of exercises and a format for daily observations might be the kind of support I need to get back into the habit.
I just lit the last candle in the package for you. It’s been over three months now since your passing.
This past Saturday, I did a 5K walk for the library as a fundraiser for the summer reading program. I did the walk in your memory, and my friends generously donated $870 collectively in support of us. The 5K was in Roseville, and we walked around the park that we had visited once last year on a whim. It was a beautifully sunny day for the walk.
I want to write a book on art/creativity and dogs. I want to bring together drawing, creative thinking, and experiencing the world from dogs’ perspectives. You taught me how to see different things in the everyday world around me, and you showed me ways of being in the world that I never would have known possible like finding such intense pleasure in running through the fields and woods at the dog park.
Yesterday was a difficult day, emotionally. Maybe it was the overcast, rainy weather (again/still). Maybe it was hearing sad news–the death of a friend’s mother and denial of tenure for a colleague. Whatever it was, I pretty much shut down yesterday. And in the evening, I asked Mr. Frog if we could let Otis sleep in the bed with us instead of in his crate. So it was his first night on the bed. At some point, he went back to his crate. And he got up before 6 am and bugged Mr. Frog to get up. But all in all, it was a pleasant night. We’ll probably have him sleep in the crate a few more weeks so that he gets extra comfortable with it.
I cut off my facial hair yesterday evening. You remember that I was growing out the patch of hair on my chin for the last few years, and it was getting close to a foot long. It was scraggly and full of gray. Today, I find myself stroking my beard, but it’s not there. And I’ll go to rest my chin on my hand in a way that accommodated the beard, but again, the beard was not there as expected. It’s like how we kept reaching for ways of being in the everyday world in those first weeks after you left and discovering that you’re no longer there with us, Giles.
Time flies. I’m not quite sure what I’ve been doing the last couple of weeks. Here we are in May already, though.
The May Day Parade that goes through Powderhorn Park was this past Sunday. It brings in a huge crowd, and we saw streams of cars, bicycles, people, and dogs go by even though we’re a few blocks away from the park. Otis, we think, was a bit overwhelmed by all the stuff, and he seemed a bit anxious for a couple of days after, reverting back to some of his scared-of-everything behavior that he showed the first week he lived with us.
It’s been so refreshing working in Ramsey County Library again. People have been so nice to me, and I’ve felt such a deep sense of collegiality from staff.
I missed you pretty fiercely last night all of a sudden when I was working at the library.
We think you would’ve really loved Otis, our new dog. He’s a bigger dog, and you generally didn’t take to big dogs but rather wanted to fight them. However, he’s very laid back and loves dogs, so we think you would’ve gotten used to him pretty quickly and enjoyed his company.
Otis has started to perk up quite a bit and isn’t scared of everything. He seems to love squirrels and rabbits as much as you did and is pulling mightily on his leash when he spots them. He also loves cats–at least for now since he hasn’t actually interacted with one like you did (to semi-disastrous results).
Still under the weather. I ended up taking sick days on both Monday and Tuesday, although I still had to do a couple hours of work each day (more effort to reschedule/cancel those things than to slog through them in my sickness daze).
I’m feeling a bit better now but still greatly fatigued. And now instead of a sore/pained throat, I am totally congested and phlegmy. I have to go expel some sputum regularly at the sink. It’s quite disgusting, and I want to do still is just lie around.